Festuri is a multicultural and youth festival coming to Maleny in September, and it aims to bring people together, create connection and awaken our sense of fun!

By Jacqui Hensel

With a French Caribbean background, Dominique Cisse has always strongly believed Australia is a multicultural society, and he enjoys sharing his culture with others. His drive and enthusiasm has seen him involved in Festuri Festivals since they began in 1999.  

With Ninidi Johnstone they are keen to get Maleny and the hinterland community on board with the multicultural and youth festival project planned for September this year

“People who come to Australia from other countries to make it their home also make Australia what it is. The diversity of people’s backgrounds should be celebrated,” Dominique enthuses. 

“Festivals like Festuri give people a chance to keep their culture alive and pass it on to the next generation. With the formation of a new sub-branch of Festuri in Maleny, now is the time to join the committee and steer this project to becoming a pinnacle event for our region,” Dominique smiles.

“The last two years Festuri has been affected by Covid and we had to cancel, which was incredibly disappointing. But we are coming back stronger than ever with new locations. We are really excited to be bringing this festival to Maleny and the hinterland. 

“We know the area has a great depth of talented musicians and community-minded people who are keen to get involved.”

There are currently five Festuri festivals a year, with plans to do more. 

“There is one at Cottontree Park Maroochydore, Buderim, Nambour, Coolum, Noosa, and now we are having one in Maleny too. We have also been asked to do one at Rainbow Beach up at Gympie. So, we are in the planning stages to hold one there. 

“We know this will be an opportunity to see something unique,” Dominique’s enthusiasm is infectious.

“So many people from different regions, different cultures and different backgrounds are living in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, and we want to draw them all together and celebrate the many cultures through food, music and dance. 

“It’s important to recognise that culture is a living thing that needs to be shared to keep it alive,” Dominique explains.

“We are looking for people to form a local committee. We are holding weekly meetings in the lead up to determine the activities and plans for the festivals. The event is to be run annually by locals without a lot of oversight from us once it’s up and running. 

“We are hoping to draw people with industry experience to help us get going, but we are needing people with a wide range of skills. 

“Volunteers will be needed to help with set-up and working back-stage. We also need volunteers to help us run various workshops, face painting, entry and parking, and a clean-up crew. There are lots of ways to help.

“We are keen to work with lots of different stall operators as we know many Coast businesses have been very hard hit over the last few years. There have been many of our musos who have no income due to the cancelling of events. 

Dominique is hoping that this might be an opportunity for these musicians to return to having bands and working collaboratively, as many have had to go solo during Covid. 

“The festival will also be an opportunity for people to sell merchandise and maybe generate some income that way.”

The free multicultural festival is really focused on bringing people out to share and live their cultures. 

“We are drawing people from Papua New Guinea to Indonesia, France to India, Japan to New Zealand, everywhere, from all round the world! And they are coming to one place and they will be playing their music and performing their traditional dances in traditional costumes. 

“There will be art and craft stalls selling hand-made items like baskets, jewellery, and artworks. The food stalls will feature food from all around the world. The smells are amazing and easily one of my favourite parts of a festival,” Dominique booms with laughter.

“We also want to focus on the youth by holding a youth festival and youth activities,” Ninindi explains.

“We see our role as supporting the kids who are trying so hard to organise things for their community as well as using our knowledge of events. So we are looking at ways to integrate the youth into the community by festivals, targeted activities, and supported youth-led programs.”

The Festuri multicultural festival and a youth festival in Maleny will be held in the September school holidays. The festivals are a free community event that brings everyone together. 

“Festuri is funded by our partners Sunshine Coast Regional Council, Queensland State Government and Stockland,: shares Dominique, “which means we have a major hurdle to hosting events already jumped. The funding also means the event is free to attend and that we are able to pay our performers.”

Individuals and community groups can apply to perform via the website where they can upload a link to their music or performance. Festuri aims to have 65% local performers plus other acts from outside the local area. Visit: .festuri.org.au or the Festuri Facebook Page

Festuri photos kindly supplied by Derek Rowan Photography: available for weddings, events, aerial drone work, family portraiture, graphics, editing and more. Contact: derekrowanphotography@gmail.com / 0423123333

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